Summary: Understanding Revelation 12 all depends on what criteria you use to establish when it will (or has) taken place. But once you know WHEN this prophecy is taking place, you can learn a powerful message about God's faithfulness.
OPEN: Many Americans dislike Daylight Savings Time, but back in the early 1800s in America had 1000s of time zones. Back then, every city set their clocks based on when the sun was at “High Noon”. One city might have their clocks set at 12 Noon, while another city several miles away might say the time was 12:08 or 12:44.
Now that wasn’t much of a problem until the railroads came along.
In 1869 the US completed the first transcontinental railroad line connecting the country from coast to coast. But they soon had a headache with scheduling because of multitude of time zones across the nation. Every city had its own PERSONAL time zones and the railroad never knew what time it was from city to city. It led to a lot of confusion.
So, in 1883 the Railroad companies divided the nation into 4 times zones and basically forced all the local cities to set their clocks by Railroad time. That way everybody knew exactly what time it was, and no one had to guess as to when the next train was going to arrive.
The railroads learned firsthand how impractical it can be for people to have their “own” time zones.
APPLY: Now, when it comes to reading the book of Revelation there’s a multitude of different views on what the book is saying - and many of those views depend upon folks using their own “time zones”. In fact, prophetic teachers are so committed to their own personal “time zone” on prophecy that they have literally stopped the Bible clock in order to make Scripture fit their theology.
For example, consider this chart about Daniel 9.
Daniel 9 is perhaps one of the most powerful and impressive prophecies in the Old Testament. It covers a prophetic period of 490 years in the Old Testament era... and it accurately depicts the date the Temple was rebuilt and it also accurately gave the date when Jesus’ earthly ministry began.
It’s great stuff!
But I want you to notice something on this chart.
Do you see that term: “Time Gap”
The “Time Gap” on the chart is also called the “Church age”.
Now… what is all this about a Time Gap????
What the creators of that chart are saying is that God stopped the Biblically clock right here (at the beginning of the final week of the prophecy) and that God won’t turn the clock back on until then end of time.
The end of time is what they believe Revelation (including chapter 12) is describing.
But why? Why would they think God would “stop the clock”?
Well, it's NOT because the prophecy in Daniel 9 even hinted at such a “time gap”.
Because their theology dictates that there’s no other way to make the prophecy in Daniel make sense.
You see, essentially their theology is that God had an original plan for the prophecy.
His plan (they maintain) was that - when Jesus died and rose from the dead - the Jews would flock en masse to His banner, and thus all Israel would be saved.
But that didn't happen.
Somehow God did not foresee that the majority of the Jews would reject Christ… and so he fell back on plan B, which was including the Gentiles in salvation. This is what the chart calls "the Church age". Schofield (in his Scofield’s study Bible) called it the “Great Parenthesis”.
At the end of time (however) they teach that God will fix that oversight by saving all the physical Jews.
God will get back to Plan A.
This is the foundation of most prophetic teaching in America today.
Now I used to buy into this thinking until I realized how unbiblical so much of it was.
1. There’s nothing in Daniel’s prophecy that justifies their interpretation. You have to impose a “time gap” where none was indicated.
2. Their “Time Gap” or “Great Parenthesis” presumes that God was caught by surprise here. I don’t know about you… but my God is never caught by surprise. The Gentile’s inclusion in the church was not a mistake or a “plan B”… it was exactly what God planned.
Piggy-backing on this this “gap” theology is the national sport of predicting when Jesus will come back. Several years ago a man wrote a book entitled “88 Reasons Why Jesus Is Coming Back in 1988”.
It sold like hotcakes.
Of course, didn’t work out that way.
Undaunted, the author came out with another book “89 Reasons Why Jesus Is Coming Back in 1988.”
That one didn’t sell as well.
Jesus said “about that day or hour (of His return) no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” Matthew 24:36
So… who knows when Jesus is coming back? (THE FATHER)